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Critical Autism and Disabilities Studies

CADS explores Disability from a Social Model perspective encompassing ‘nothing about us without us’ which involves working ethically and fairly with disabled researchers.

CADS research is participatory and aspires to being emancipatory. The 2021 REF Impact Case Study illustrates the importance placed on usefulness of research outputs. CADS is  committed to ensuring a research informed approach to student experience and curriculum. This is particularly relevant to LSBU’s MA  Education /Autism /SEND and teacher education and CPD.

The multi-disciplinary inclusive group includes disabled and non-disabled researchers, allies, students, academics and practitioners  from within and beyond LSBU. CADS includes a number of high profile Visiting Professors and Fellows and a Writer in Residence.

The group holds events throughout the year including an international conference in collaboration with The Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC) which began within CADS and has now extended its reach internationally.

PARC provides opportunities for autistic researchers to collaborate, develop and contribute to autism research. Current funded projects focus on autistic adults who have additional intellectual impairments.

Current Members include:

  • Prof. Nicola Martin
  • Sophie Mackay
  • Fabienne Benoist
  • Cheryl Angell-Wells
  • Dr Janice Brown
  • Prof. Eddie Chaplin
  • Ruth Coakley
  • Julie Gariazzo
  • Prof. Sally Inman
  • Prof. Deborah Johnston
  • Gianna Knowles
  • Zoë Leadley-Meade
  • Prof. Steve Lerman
  • Dr Calvin Moorley
  • Dr Martha Shaw
  • Dr James Smith-Spark
  • Simon Wickenden
  • Sandie Woods
  • Dr. Helen Young
  • Dr Luke Beardon
  • Laura Cunningham
  • Prof. Brian Lamb OBE
  • Dr Katherine Runswick-Cole#213476
  • Francis Arocas
  • Rachel Bond
  • Dr Sally Brett
  • Tracey Celestine-Raddix
  • Dr Nick Chown
  • Sarah Hodgson-Jones
  • Rosie Holden
  • Sarah Jackson-Stevens
  • Annie Jennings
  • Mariama Kandeh
  • Jo Krupa
  • Justyn Mackay
  • Dr Mickey Mahew
  • Dr Damian Milton
  • Prof Calvin Moorley
  • Paula Sanchez
  • Fumi St Marthe
  • Jonathon Thompson (Visiting Fellow)
  • Michael Lewis (Visiting Fellow)
  • Barbara Peacock (Visiting Professor)
  • Darrah Singh (Visiting Fellow)
  • Steve Unwin (Writer in Residence)
  • Richard Woods

CADS has been holding an external speaker research seminar series as well as an internal research seminar series throughout the 2021-22 year.

So far, events have included:

  • 7th December 2021 - PARC Critical Autism Studies Winter Workshop
  • 16th October 2021 - PARC workshop
  • 17th October 2021 - Fourth Annual Critical Autism Studies Conference
  • 2nd April 2019 - Autism and media seminar (collaboration PARC)
  • 23rd April 2019 - Autism in the BAME Community conference, (collab Autism Voice)
  • 21st May 2019 - presenting at Conferences skills development (collaboration PARC)
  • 4th June 2019 - Third Critical Autism Studies Conference
  • 24th Feb 2021 - Lorna Wing Project conference – online event
  • 8th June 2021 - Fourth CADS conference – online event

CADS is involved in a number of research projects, national and international collaborations, including:

  • The Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC), PARC began at LSBU and now is recognised internationally with events held across the UK and links in America, Europe, Australia. This can be explored in detail through the official PARC website.
  • Members have provided advice to: The National Association of Disability Practitioners, Westminster Autism Commission, charities such as Autism Voice and local authorities around the COVID-19 Pandemic’s impact on autistic people.
  • CADS has been delivering a successful series of research labs to promote researcher development since 2019
  • Funders of research projects include The Society for Research in Higher Education, the John and Lorna Wing Foundation and local authorities

Some of the noteworthy publications of this research group includes:

  • Benoist, F (2019) Student Experience of Accessing Support at University. Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education. 11.1
  • Fennessy, Jenny et al. Conference Report: Carnival of Invention. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, [S.l.], v. 20, n. 2, May 2019.
  • Hodge. N. Douglas, P. Kruth, M. Martin, N. Gowler, K. Smith, C. Sanchez P. and Connol, S. (2021) Contemplating educator talk though a Critical Autism Studies lens. Handbook of Critical Autism Studies. Eds Milton & Ryan. Routledge (in press)
  • Johnson, H. et al. (2019) Collaborative Poetics Resource Pack. England: Independent Publishing Network
  • Leadley-Meade, Z. and Goodwin, R. (2019) Pre-entry self-assessment and mapping to relevant services as a means of developing learner autonomy in undergraduates. Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education. 11.1
  • Kandeh, M., Kandeh, S; Korrca, M; Martin, N; Krupa, J. (2020)."Autism in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities: A report on The First Autism Voice UK Symposium." Advances in Autism 6 (2)165-175
  • Martin, N., Milton, D.E.M., Krupa, J., Brett, S., Bulman, K., Callow, D., Copeland, F., Cunningham, L., Ellis, W., Harvey, T. and Moranska, M., (2019). The sensory school: working with teachers, parents and pupils to create good sensory conditions. Advances in Autism, 5(2), pp.131-140.
  • Martin, N: Wray, M: James, A: Draffan, EA: Krupa,J and Turner, P (2019) Implementing Inclusive Teaching and Learning in UK Higher Education – Utilising Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a Route to Excellence. Project report: Society for Research into Higher Education
  • Martin, N. (2019). Pastoral care and intellectual disability. A person-centred approach. Disability and Society, 34(3): 508-509
  • Martin. N. (2020) Perspectives on UK university employment from autistic researchers and lecturersDisability and Society.
  • Martin, N. (2020) University through the eyes of autistic students and staff. In: Milton, D. (Ed) The Neurodiversity Reader: Exploring Concepts, Lived Experience and Implications for Practice. Hove: Pavilion.
  • Martin, N. (2020). A Practical Response to Ableism in Leadership in UK Higher Education. in: Brown, N. (Ed) Ableism in Academia, UCL Press.
  • Martin, N. (2020). Practical Scholarship: Optimising Beneficial Research Collaborations Between Autistic Scholars, Professional Services Staff and ‘Typical Academics’ in UK Universities. In: Rosqvist, H., Chown, N. and Stenning, A. (Eds) Neurodiversity Studies: A New Critical Paradigm. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Martin, N; Peacock, B(2020)Continuing the education of autistic pupils while focusing on family wellbeing during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Good Autism Practice (GAP), Volume 21, Number 2, October 2020, pp. 5-10(6).
  • Martin, N. and Cannon, H.  (2020) Studying during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic: suggestions for autistic university students.  Journal of Inclusive Practice in Higher Education (JIPFHE).  11.2
  • Martin, N. (2021) University Design for Learning (UDL) in Higher Education: A UK, USA Comparison. Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education. Issue 13.1. pp 20-49
  • Milton, D. and Martin, N. (2019).  First and Second special editions on autism and education (eds). Advances in Autism
  • Milton, DEM and Martin, N (2019) Guest editorial. Advances in Autism, 4. 153-154.
  • Milton, D and Ridout, S and Kourti, M and Loomes, G and Martin, N (2019) A critical reflection on the development of the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC). Tizard Learning Disability Review,
  • Sturgess, S & Banks, Z. (2021) “More More – continue to run this!” Reflections on an online social group for autistic students: a pilot as a response to the social restrictions of Covid-19. Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education. Issue 13.1. pp 90- 103.
  • Wray, M. and Houghton, A.M., 2019. Implementing disability policy in teaching and learning contexts–shop floor constructivism or street level bureaucracy? Teaching in Higher Education, 24(4), pp.510-526.
  • Wray, M., 2021. Additional support services and the utilisation of teaching assistants in university settings: dissuading inclusive practice or improving academic outcomes? Support for Learning36(1), pp.102-115.
  • Wilson, L., Martin, N. Conway, J. and Turner, P. (2020) The Wellbeing of Disability Professionals in the Further and Higher Education Institution Workplace. NADP report.

The CADS group is happy to supervise projects in relevant areas of research. As a masters or doctoral student supervised by a member of this group, you will receive support from the wider research group and the research centre. If you are interested to apply for a masters or doctoral at LSBU on this theme, get in touch with the following academics listed below:

MA Education /Autism/ SEND - Sophie Mackay:

EdD Inclusive Education and Social Justice - Dr Martha Shaw:

MRes - Dr Helen Young:

PARC Critical Autism Studies - Autumn Conference 2021

Following on from the conferences on Critical Autism Studies (CAS) that were held at LSBU in 2017-19, PARC in partnership with CADS Research Group at LSBU, return with our second event of the year due to popular demand!